Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners now,
And at the hour of death.
And that was what it had been like until this point. Two weeks of not getting enough sleep and being scared out of her mind. She had asked around the neighborhood and what Pete had said was pretty much true. Fifty years ago a young woman had lived in their house alone. The fact that she was alone was really suspicious back then. They didn’t know her whole story but she was gifted with herbs and only wore black. At first people visited her for her cures and she became known as a talented cuyondida, but she had a mean streak to her, especially when people could not pay for her services. Children in the neighborhood began to go missing and fingers began to point in her direction as the cause. She began to be known as the black witch and no one but the most unsavory among them would pay her visits. If you could pay her price, you could as for almost anything.
On the night she disappeared it was said that a group of men from the neighborhood had surrounded her house and taunted her to come out to them. When she didn’t listen to their calls, they broke down the door and entered her house anyway. She was never heard from again.
Was the witch the person washing dishes in her kitchen every night? Cathy’s hands felt sweaty as she clenched and unclenched them under the covers. Any minute now the sound of the tap opening and water gushing out would start. One by one she would hear dishes being put into the water and then scrubbed, clinking against each other in the process. One way or another she needed this to end here. She wanted to know what she was dealing with. This night she had decided not to hide under the covers and chant Hail Marys until she fell asleep. She heard the tap being turned on, she heard the water and she sat up in her bed. The water turned off abruptly. Cathy adjusted her eyes to the dark and looked around her. There where her sisters sound asleep unaware to what she was about to face. Should she go out to meet this thing? Maybe it was wrong to wait for her here, she knew somehow that if she waited something would appear. She heard light footsteps cross the creaky kitchen floor and make their way down the narrow hallway. Maybe it was her mother? She allowed herself this one last hope but knew it wasn’t so. The air grew cold and her breath made small clouds of smoke over her face. If she clenched her hands any harder she would draw blood but the footsteps were so close now. And now they stopped at her door, a thin, tall figure was framed there. Her heart stopped. Hail Mary…oh what where the words, her mind was blank. Hail…no, she’s moving closer.
The figure crossed over the door sill and into the room and towards her. She couldn’t breathe. She reached over and shook Janie in spite of herself, she wouldn’t wake up. Cathy tried to scream out to her mother but no words came out of her mouth. The tall black figure was beside her bed, she sat down and the bed sank beneath her weight. Still Janie slept on. Dim light from one small window fell on the figure as it turned to face her and she saw, she saw no face. Where a face should have been there was nothing but smooth skin, she gasped inside herself. The last thing Cathy ever saw a thin, bony hand coming towards her in the dark.
Cathy was never heard from again nor was any trace of her to be found. Her mother, brother and older sisters were questioned but they had no ideas about where she could have gone. The truth of the matter was that they all worked and more often than not they got back home to eat and went straight to bed. Cathy was always assumed to be a good girl but who knew anymore these days? Girls could pretend to be one way and turn out the complete opposite. Her mother admitted that her daughter had been acting strange and withdrawn for the past half month.
Janie had stories to tell of a ghost that had been haunting her big sister but of course no one listened. No one had time for the ranting of a silly little girl.